The Council is the governing body of the University with particular managerial responsibilities for finance and the University estate, and also a more general remit to oversee the conduct of University business in conjunction with the University Executive Board and the Senate. The Council meets formally up to five times each year and is chaired by Sir David Normington. The Council has a maximum membership of 26, a majority of whom are independent members drawn from the professions, business and industry, and local authorities, who bring a range of experience and professional expertise to the work of the University.
The Statement of Primary Responsibilities of the Council outlines the powers and responsibilities of the Council derived from the University Statutes. The Code of Practice for Corporate Governance summarises the decisions that can be taken by the University Council relating to corporate governance.
In order to carry out its responsibilities, and ensure the necessary dialogue with the Senate, the Council has specialist standing committees, principal amongst which are the Finance and General Purposes Committee, the University Estate Committee, the Audit and Risk Committee and the University Executive Board (joint with the Senate). The detailed work of the Council is mostly carried out through these standing committees and a range of Council sub-committees, usually with a mixture of independent and academic membership, which have an important role in overseeing the conduct of specific areas of business.
The Senate is the supreme academic authority of the University. Whilst the Council is ultimately accountable for the efficient management and good conduct of all aspects of the University's operation, within that the Senate has responsibility for the academic activities of the University including all aspects of the operations of the University that have a bearing on teaching, research and the welfare, supervision and discipline of students.
The Senate is chaired by the Vice-Chancellor and has a maximum membership of 46, elected from the Faculty Boards and the Assembly. Membership also includes three representatives from the Students' Union. The Senate meets five times each year and the greater part of its business arises from reports from the range of Senate committees responsible for specific academic matters e.g. Academic Quality and Standards Committee, Board of Graduate Studies. The Senate also oversees the work of the three Faculty Boards as well as the Research Centres and Institutes. The University Executive Board reports to the Senate as well as the Council.
The University Executive Board comprises the Vice-Chancellor and President; the Provost; the Registrar; the Group Finance Director; the Vice-Presidents and Pro-Vice-Chancellors; the Secretary to Council, the Commercial Director and the Chief Information and Digital Officer. The Committee meets three times a month. The Committee’s main responsibilities are to oversee the implementation of the University strategy on behalf of the Senate and the Council; to oversee performance and risk management through agreed KPIs and dashboards; to provide assurance that the required standards of accountability and legal and regulatory compliance are being achieved; to coordinate for the consideration of the Senate and the Council the academic, social and physical aspects of planning for the development of the University, and to ensure that in matters for which the statutory responsibility is laid on the Council the views of the Senate are clearly transmitted. It acts as the delegated authority to approve all staff and student related policies on behalf of the Senate and the Council; except where a policy would have a significant impact on the financial or budgetary position of the University. It is responsible for providing a strategic direction for the allocation of resources; for approving major operational decisions and providing active and visible leadership.
The Steering Committee is a sub-committee of the University Executive Board and comprises the Vice-Chancellor and President; the Provost; the Registrar; the Group Finance Director; the Vice-Presidents and Pro-Vice-Chancellors; the Vice-Provosts and Chairs of the Boards of the Faculties; a non-management academic member of the Senate; and the President of the Students' Union. The Committee meets on a monthly basis. The Committee's main responsibilities are to provide opinion, advice and guidance to the University Executive Board with regard to the implementation of the University strategy, specifically the potential opportunities, risks and associated implications of identified strategic activities and initiatives; the academic, social and physical aspects of planning for the development of the University; and the principles within, and implementation of, staff and student related policies. On behalf of the University Executive Board on matters of Senate business, the Steering Committee will initiate action to ensure that the relevant information and advice from other committees and relevant teams or individuals is available to the Senate and that this is presented to the Senate in a manner which enables clear decisions to be made.
The Boards of the Faculties of Arts, Science, Engineering and Medicine and Social Sciences are headed by appointed Chairs, appointed on an annual basis but with the expectation that a Chair will serve for a minimum of three years. Membership of each of the Faculty Boards is drawn from representatives of academic departments and research centres within each Faculty. The Faculty Boards are responsible to the Senate for academic matters within the Faculty, i.e. teaching, research, curricula and examinations.
The Assembly of the University has the power to appoint six members of the University's academic staff to the Senate and make recommendations to the Council or to the Senate on any matter relating to the University, including any matters referred to it by the Council or by the Senate.